In this modern globalized society, many of our students – especially those studying foreign languages – will look for jobs internationally. At the same time, video interviews are becoming more common, and the video resume is even replacing the paper resume in some cases. Realizing from anecdotal evidence that many students did not know how best to present themselves on video, the Department of International Studies: Languages and Cultures trialled a project in Session 2 of 2018 to assist students with video presentation in their target language to make them more competitive in the international job market. The trial in French, German, Japanese and Spanish – four of ten languages offered in the department – was also meant to create a sustainable model for training staff to roll this task out to other disciplines.
All students in 3rd year language units in French, German, Japanese and Spanish took part in an assessment task, which required them to prepare and record a a presentation in response to a job advertisement in the target language. The students were asked to complete this task in three steps. The first step was to jointly create a list of guidelines for video interviews/ video CVs, which also included culturally specific considerations. These lists ended up containing details varying from culturally specific formal language use, through what to wear, to reflections on the appropriate background for a Skype interview (e.g. “make sure you check what the background looks like before the interview”; or “make sure your cat won’t walk across the desk mid-interview”). The second step was to record the video self-presentation in response to a job advertisement in the target language using VoiceThread, a learning tool for enhancing student engagement and online presence. The third and final step was to reflect on all aspects of their video.
Students reported that they found this project very helpful both for their career prospects and their spoken skills in the target language. One student in Japanese used the video to successfully apply for a position in Japan, while another student in French secured a position as a language assistant in Wallis and Futuna as a result of making use of the preparation undertaken in the unit as part of this project. Four of the students in German drew on the project to prepare for their presentation component of the Goethe Institut C1 CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) speaking exams in November 2018, which they all passed.
As this initial trial was so successful, academics teaching in the six other languages in the department will be invited to roll out this project in Session 2 2019.
* The Professional Digital Competencies projects (PDC) were an initiative supported by a 2018 University Teaching and Learning Strategic Priority Grant (SPG) awarded to Gary Falloon. The participants of this PDC project were Bénédicte André, Ulrike Garde, Jane Hanley (Co-CIs); Kayo Nakazawa, Brangwen Stone; Sijia Guo, Tania Currie, Cathy Mewes, Wes Robertson.